I will make my dwelling among you, and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people. (Leviticus 26:11–12)
You were made — designed and wired in the deepest parts of you — to walk with God. When he formed Adam from the dust, and Eve from his rib, he walked among them (Genesis 3:8), and his presence was the sweetest fragrance in all the garden. Until sin broke in, ruined their communion, and spoiled any hope for the happiness they had known.
That sin still plagues us, all these centuries later. Any frustration, heartache, or longing we experience in life is rooted, in some way, in that great disruption, when mankind was ripped away from walking with God. And if we never got to walk with God, we would never experience what it means to be fully human. God gave us legs so that we might walk with him, a mind so that we might know him, a mouth so that we might praise him and talk to him, and a heart so that we might love him and feel loved by him.
And then, when sin had separated us from that love, he sent his Son so that we might yet walk with him again — so that we might have him, and with him, everything we could ever long to have.
Heaven Without God
Because of what Christ has done, one day soon we will walk with God. The apostle John saw a vision of the new earth to come: “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God” (Revelation 21:3). God will walk with man, and we will walk with God — on earth (Revelation 21:1–2). The earth we once knew will give way to a new earth, now made into heaven.
But what if, when you finally walked those flawless streets, God himself were not there? What if everyone you ever loved were there, and cancer had lost its last battle, along with every other disease, and you could live anywhere in the world you wanted, but God were not there? Would heaven feel like heaven to you if you had to live without Christ? John Piper says,
Christ did not die to forgive sinners who go on treasuring anything above seeing and savoring God. And the people who would be happy in heaven if Christ were not there, will not be there. The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God. (God Is the Gospel)
You were made to walk with God, and Jesus died to give you God (1 Peter 3:18). Set your hope on the real treasure of heaven: God himself.
Heaven Without Tears
Not only will we walk with God in heaven, but we will never not walk with him again. We’ll never want to leave his side, and we’ll never have to. The apostle John goes on,
Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:3–4)
The moment our life begins on the new earth, every threat we ever knew will have ended. All our mourning will break into dancing. Every tear we might have shed will be dried by perfect love. Death will have made its last stand, and then fallen before King Jesus, who will spend eternity walking with us through his redeemed kingdom — a whole world set free from bondage to sin (Romans 8:21).
Heaven Without End
Apart from the nails in Christ’s hands and feet, none us would ever cross heaven’s gates. But by faith in him, heaven has become our sure and final home. We should live all our days on earth, therefore, to make sure we walk with him there.
The apostle Paul quotes the old promise in Leviticus 26:11, “I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people” (2 Corinthians 6:17). Then Paul says, “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1). Because we know that we will walk with God, we watch all the more carefully how we walk now — striving to cleanse ourselves of sin and to live more wholly for him.
The presence of God will make the new earth a heaven. When that heaven comes, it will never, ever end. And if you will trust Jesus, and learn to walk with him now, that heaven will be yours. He will be yours — forevermore.